Encountering the Unseen is an academic symposium as work of experimental live theater. Our project is to pair artists, choreographers, performers, and musicians from both UCLA and the greater Los Angeles area with professors working in STEM fields at UCLA. The project consists of three workshops, leading up to a fourth and final performance event - an evening symposium of five brief but stimulatin lectures on topics as wide ranging as ecology and evolution, mechanical engineering, astrophysics, and more. Instead of powerpoint slides, speakers will instead be accompanied by thought-provoking visual phenomena, live music, physical manifestations, props, constumes, and kinetic sculpture -- all activated and brought to life by artists, dancers, and performance. This final event will be advertised and open to the public.
This project facilitates communication across fields of thinking, fields of visualizaing, and across the imaginary lines that usually divide STEM fields from the arts as well as academics from community members. In doing so, our goal is twofold: to prompt scientists to think about the ways they communicate to a broader public outside of their discipline; and to encourage artists to develop new, specific works based on a deeper understanding of a science through social connection to a researcher in the field. What we hope to ultimately create in the imagination of the viewer, and in the social relationships we will develop over the course of the project, is a new and stronger seam between the arts and the sciences both in and outside of the academic institution - a tying together that creates public support for both of these fields.